Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Cheryl Eicher Jett  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: in Jacksonville, Illinois

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-- Website --
-- Cheryl Eicher Jett on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Jett is a lifelong resident of Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Cheryl Eichar Jett is an author, historian, and blogger. She was born in Jacksonville, Illinois to musical parents, and grew up in several Central Illinois cities. After teaching music for many years, she returned to Southern Illinois University as a nontraditional student for a master's degree in history. A stint at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site followed as well as freelance work with historical and arts-oriented nonprofits. Her first book, "Alton," was published by Arcadia Publishing in 2009, followed by four more books on Illinois history. She also writes on Route 66 for several magazines. Cheryl was one of the founding board members in 2004 of the Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association and now serves on the City of Edwardsville's Historic Preservation Commission. An avid genealogist, she also enjoys travel, and music, and when not at the computer can be spotted out on Route 66 looking for a good story

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Alton (Images of America)
ISBN: 0738561142

Arcadia Publishing. 2009

The river bend near the confluence of three great rivers―the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois―was founded by Rufus Easton between 1814 and 1818 for land development and a ferry service between Illinois and St. Louis. Named for one of Easton’s sons, Alton developed into a bustling river town. In 1837, Alton’s economy was hurt by financial panic and its reputation blotted by the murder of abolitionist newspaper publisher Elijah Lovejoy. But by the 1850s, Alton had caught “railroad fever,” which, along with plentiful natural resources, fueled its growth as a manufacturing city. Fortunes were made, and by the 20th century, Alton boasted fine churches, schools, and millionaires’ mansions. On the other end of the social scale lived the workers in their neighborhoods. The river, the railroad, and the diverse people they brought to the river bend shaped Alton’s history and culture.

Edwardsville (Postcard History)
ISBN: 0738560189

Arcadia Publishing. 2009

Edwardsville, named for territorial governor Ninian Edwards, began life as a frontier fort and gateway to settlers. It became the seat of law and government of Madison County, which at that time encompassed much of the Illinois Territory. The town was incorporated shortly after Illinois became a state in 1818. In 1890, industrialist N. O. Nelson began a manufacturing complex and established the model town of Leclaire Village. Edwardsville grew rapidly through the late 1800s and early 1900s. Main Street became a bustling business district while elegant mansions were constructed on St. Louis Street. Take a nostalgic look at Edwardsville 100 years ago with a stroll down Main Street, a walk through City Park, or a glimpse of the weeklong Madison County Centennial festivities.

Route 66 in Madison County (Images of America)
ISBN: 0738583855

Arcadia Publishing. 2010

Route 66 zigzagged southwest across Madison County, Illinois, before crossing the Mississippi River into Missouri. Various alignments of this segment of the “Mother Road” rolled through pastoral farmland, headed down main streets, and later straightened as it bypassed towns. From 1926 to 1977, the path of the highway changed numerous times and crossed the Mississippi River on no less than five different bridges. Along the way motorists watched for the blue neon cross on St. Paul’s Lutheran Church to guide their nighttime travel they counted on the doors of the Tourist Haven, Cathcart’s, or the Luna Café to be open for business. Travelers crossed their fingers that they wouldn’t get stuck at the bend of the Chain of Rocks Bridge and hoped they could make it up Mooney Hill in the winter. A later alignment took motorists right by Fairmount Park and Monks Mound.

Route 66 in Springfield (Images of America)
ISBN: 0738583766

Arcadia Publishing (SC). 2010

From 1926 through 1977, Route 66 carried millions of travelers from the shores of Lake Michigan to the Pacific Coast. Americans fell in love with the automobile and made a family tradition of the road trip. On its three different alignments through the capital city of Springfield, Route 66 took motorists around the Illinois State Fairgrounds, past the state capitol, and through Abraham Lincoln’s neighborhood. Mom-and-pop motels, gas stations, and eateries opened along the highway and became familiar landmarks to travelers in the “Land of Lincoln.” In Springfield, the “horseshoe” and the “cozy dog” became popular local foods, and one of the first drive-up window restaurants opened. A man spent 40 years on Route 66 operating his gas station before transforming it into an internationally known museum. Meet the proprietors of these businesses, witness the growth of the highway, and enjoy a generous dose of nostalgia.

Route 66 in Illinois (Images of America)
ISBN: 1467111945

Arcadia Publishing. 2014

Between the great cities of Chicago and St. Louis, there are 300 miles of adventure, history, culinary delights, and quirky attractions. This is the “Land of Lincoln” and roadside giants. There are cozy motels, cozy diners, and Cozy Dogs. Interstate 55 will speed travelers to their destination, but Route 66 offers something more. It goes through the hearts of the towns, wandering onto old brick pavement far from the roar of the interstate. Historic restaurants like Lou Mitchell’s in Chicago, the Palms Grill in Atlanta, and the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield still keep their coffee pots warm. Waitresses, pump jockeys, gangsters, cops, and politicians all gave the “Main Street of America” its distinctive personality, and their stories are within these pages. So slow down, take the next exit, and head toward the beckoning neon in the distance. Come explore Route 66 in Illinois―where the road began.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

The author is available for speaking engagements. For a list of upcoming appearances, go to